Mon, Aug 15, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan’s Cheng smashes into final round of worlds

‘NEW START’:Cheng Shao-chieh has lost to her finals opponent in all three matches they played, but said she is not worried because each match is a fresh start

Staff writer, with CNA and AFP, LONDON

Taiwan’s Cheng Shao-chieh hits a return to Juliane Schenk of Germany during their women’s singles semi-final at the World Badminton Championships on Saturday at Wembley Arena in London.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan’s Cheng Shao-chieh advanced to the final of the women’s singles at the World Badminton Championships in London on Saturday by defeating Juliane Schenk of Germany 21-18, 21-6 .

Cheng — the women’s world No. 8 — is the first Taiwanese player ever to make it into the finals of the women’s singles event of badminton’s premier tournament.

Seventh-seed Cheng came from 8-14 down against ninth-seed Schenk, the European silver medalist, to win the semi-final match that only lasted 33 minutes.

“I had thought this would be a tight match,” Cheng told the Central News Agency, adding that she was surprised the match ended up being an easy victory.

The 25-year-old Taiwanese faces second-seed Wang Yihan of China for the championship title.

Cheng has lost to Wang in all three games they have played, but said she was not troubled by that record as “every match is a new start.”

Asked about how she felt being one step away from the title, Cheng said she was “calm” and did not intend to put too much pressure on herself to win.

Cheng’s recent performances included grabbing the Canada Open title, where she beat Pi Hongyan of France in the final of the women’s singles on July 25.

Wang reached the final by showing how well she has recovered from the lower back injury which prevented her from flying to the All-England championships in March, overcoming her compatriot Wang Xin by 21-14, 21-15.

Wang used her height to get overhead drops down steeply, smashed well, and also moved encouragingly well against an opponent who had reached last year’s world final in Paris.

Wang also turned around a 5-9 deficit in the second game, taking seven points in a row, and then recovered from 13-15 down with another seven-point sequence, attacking consistently most of the time.

“I was disappointed not to come to England in March, but I rested and recovered and trained well, and have prepared myself as best I can for this,” Wang said.

In men’s singles action, Lee Chong Wei’s bid to become the first Malaysian to win a world title has earned him a final with his arch-rival Lin Dan.

Lee impressively dethroned defending champion Chen Jin by 21-13, 21-9, but it will require another outstanding effort to beat Lin, the man sometimes described as the greatest men’s singles player of all time.

Three times a former world champion, Lin said earlier in the week that he regarded this tournament mostly as a preparation for next year’s Olympic Games, to be played in the same Wembley arena.

However, he looked highly committed throughout an outstanding 75-minute tussle with Peter Gade, the former world No. 1 from Denmark, who was playing in his last world championship.

Lin prevailed 22-24, 21-7, 21-15, but it required a tenacious sequence of seven points in a row from 14-15 in the final game before the Chinese star wore down the tiring 34-year-old’s resistance.

However, Lin’s comments suggested that Lee might yet succeed where Gade narrowly failed.

“I don’t care about the result tomorrow,” Lin said, and went on to repeat his earlier mantra. “I am more interested in getting plenty of ranking points to qualify for the Olympics and getting completely used to the venue. I think Lee Chong Wei is in really good form.”

Lee certainly showed that with the way he dispatched Chen, the Chinese player who had caused a surprise a year ago in Paris by snatching the title. Chen contended only for a short while, early in the second game, but was eventually outplayed 21-13, 21-9 by the brilliantly athletic world No. 1.

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